Were you always picked last in gym class? My three cents on self-promotion.

This blog was originally posted in September, 2011, and was recently discovered by friend and writer, Heather L. Reid. So I thought I would resurrect it.

Heather has a book launch next year, Pretty Dark Nothings, and she has a way cool website.

I edited the Two Cents blog and made it Three Cents. Because, well, I’m a better writer now, and I have more sense.

Recommending books

I make it a habit to recommend only books I’ve read and loved – when I think they are brilliant or if I liked them. I have a small posse of followers who trust me when I say a book is a “must read” or a “good read.” To maintain integrity and honesty, I can’t make myself retweet a book promotion or post it to my FB when I haven’t read the book. I will recommend the writer’s blogs and blog posts.

Writers promoting

Just to be clear, friends, I’m all for writers promoting other writers – that’s how the word gets out. But I am not jiggy with the writers who bang-bang-bang their own drum over and over. Like a woodpecker at 4:30 a.m. on a sleep-in Saturday.

The Rule of Three  

My writer-pal Shawn MacKenzie and I had a conversation on appropriate give-and-take (the conversation was last year, but it still holds). Shawn and I promote each other because 1) we appreciate it, 2) we say Thank You, and 3) we pay it forward – not only to each other but to writers who have earned our respect.

Like you? I don’t even know you  

Reminds me of the old joke, “Tissue? I hardly know you!” While I have relaxed my stance on liking Fan Pages, I do not like begging “please please please like my page” missives. I may be friends with over 500 people, but if I never hear from you, ever, and then you write me to promote your page or book, I think, “What have you done for me lately?”

Read my review

If I’m not interested in your book, why should I read another review? If I am looking for a new book, I’m most apt to look for the genres I prefer or ask trusted friends what they have read and enjoyed. And honestly, with all the fall-out over book reviews lately, I am even more likely to disregard most reviews.

11,986 other books  

“My book just went from 12,429 to 11,987 on _________ [fill in review site here]!” Since your book is 11,987 then I have 11,986 other books to read before I get to yours. When it gets to the top hundred, then I might be interested.

Free give-away of my book

I’ve seen a pile of these give-aways, and I check them out. Who doesn’t like a free book? Please make it easy for us. I still remember one give-away – all I had to do was 1) like her page, 2) make a comment on her page, 3) follow her on Twitter, 4) mention the give-away on Twitter, 5) and sign up for her newsletter … oh, is that all?

Friend mills  

“Please like me so I can get 250 fans.” So, you don’t care who likes you or if they have read your book, you just need 250 fans. I’ve seen this carried as far as “I have a bet with a friend to see who can get the most fans.” If you win the bet, I get what? A new crock pot would be nice – I lost mine in the flood.

The whining why  

I saw a guy post his book and ask for tweets. Then he actually came back and said (to an online group) “Why aren’t you tweeting my book?” Um, because you are a nincompoop?

Blogging about me

News flash – you may not be the center of the universe.

I’ve seen thousands of blogs that are not blogs at all – they are self-promoting, self-marketing me-mes. Give me tips I can use, give me suggestions that are helpful, give me inspiration I’d want to share with other writers.

Sneaking it in  

Like a smelly silent one in an elevator. I have observed writers that no matter where they post a comment, they have to sneak in a little tid-bit about their book (with a link of course). Unless it relates directly to the blog post, knock it off.

Facebook THANK YOU!!!!!

You connect with someone on some form of social networking. So, you friend them on Facebook. Next thing ya know there is this big-ass post on your FB page announcing your new friendship and a link to their book. Ick. If you haven’t noticed, I delete these posts. And oft, unfriend.

Unsolicited email lists

Don’t add a stranger to your email list. Several writers have done this to me because I made the mistake of corresponding with them. Seconds later, I get a pile of auto-emails, “Read my book!” “Like my fan page!” A personal reply would be much better.

What irks you in the social networking scene? What uncomfortable situations have you personally experienced in social networking? What social media behavior pisses you off?

“When science discovers the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to find they are not it.” ~Bernard Baily

“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.” ~Benjamin Franklin

Opening photo by C. Christine Roberts (my d-in-law). Additional photo by hardstyle_1993 via Photobucket. Quotes from Quote Garden.


Filed under Branding & Platform, Social Networking

19 responses to “Were you always picked last in gym class? My three cents on self-promotion.

  1. I always appreciate what you say about books and have sometimes read them as well if they are in a genre that I like, I also appreciate it when you promote people because they have to be damned good when you promote.
    I suppose I just appreciate you.

  2. I was definitely picked last in gym a few times, and have been overcompensating ever since. Great article, with a few bits of advice I will try to start obeying :o)

  3. More sense from you, Karen, is always welcome. It’s a fine line to walk when trying to get the word out. I marvel at people who seem to do it so effortlessly. I’m still learning my way.
    Thanks for this.

  4. You are right on with this post, and you made me smile at the ridiculousness of it all. Self-promoting can be self- ego-ing, huh? Or at least self-me-ing. Turns me off too. Thanks for sharing your great points.

  5. Thank you ALL for your comments. Though we must all self-promote occasionally, I try to make it a very small percentage of my overall social networking.

  6. It’s a tough one when you are trying to promote something to not cross the line into being a pesky gnat getting into people’s faces but I agree it can get really bothersome! What I dislike the most about social networking is using is as a platform for religious and political rants. It’s okay to say a few things but come on people enough is enough! I end up hating all the candidates and all the various ways for climbing the ladder to a higher spirituality. A little here and a little there is fine – I just don’t want it plastered all over my timeline – that is all!

  7. Great advice. I’m experimenting. I plan to shut of FB a few days a week. I started this last week and it refreshed me and I focused on what mattered- my story. I prefer to tout others over myself, but I’ve caught myself a few times. Ick.

    On the internet, it’s all about perception. I’d rather be my geeky, silly self than a salesperson. 🙂

  8. I agree there is a line, but exactly where that line is… To be helpful instead of a gnat is better for me. Every once in a while, I spend very little time on social networking – it’s refreshing not to have to keep up.

  9. I too only recommend books that I have actually read and enjoyed. Thanks for posting. I’ll keep this information in mind should I one day publish. 😉

  10. Gosh, Karen, I hope next time you’ll tell us how you really feel! 🙂

    You have spoken well what most of us have felt at one time or another when someone crosses the line and makes you feel sort of tarnished.

    My pet peeve is people who invite me to friend them or connect with them and don’t give me any reason a) how they came across my name b) why they want to connect 3) who the heck they are and why I should accept.

    Just to be ornery, I’ll say I think there can be a difference between tooting your own horn and proclaiming your message, but I’ll admit it’s often a fine line that many do not navigate well.

    Thanks, as always, for being yourself and being REAL.

  11. Keeping it real, yup! 🙂 I agree with the friending on FB – give me a clue who you are or why you want to connect with me. Connecting should be a wee bit more personal, not like an assembly line.

  12. As always, Karen, you are the real deal!
    Great tips to keep on the front burner! Thanks! 😉

  13. Thanks for the ‘tag’ Denise!

  14. nancyelizabethlauzon

    What a great post, and so true. The way I look at it, anything that is awkward and uncool at a dinner party is equally awkward and uncool in any online social media circle. Amazing how people don’t understand that.

  15. All those things you mention! I’m an author and lawdy! all this ME ME ME has made it where I rarely want to even mention I’m an author with books for fear it sounds like I’m “spamming” — many others have made it more difficult on those of us who do not do all those things, so we have gone way over to the other side of being afraid to mention anything at all. LAWD!

    • Well, Kat, your books speak for themselves – every one a winner! I think the best thing to do is simply to blog with useful stuff, be helpful when you can, give advice when it’s requested. I don’t even like to tweet about myself more than a couple times a week. I don’t know how people do it five times a day!

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